Australia's Unemployment Rate Plummets, Over 50% Of Jobs Lost During COVID-19 Lockdown Recovered

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Prime Minister Scott Morrison has touted a fossil-fuelled recovery plan for Australia's coronavirus-hit economy
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has touted a fossil-fuelled recovery plan for Australia's coronavirus-hit economy POOL / Gary Ramage

Australia’s unemployment rate has fallen in August as more than half of jobs lost during the height of the coronavirus pandemic have now been recovered. Despite this sunny news, Australians say finding work is still very hard. 

Data released on Thursday by the Bureau of Statistics shows that the jobless rate in August dropped to 6.8% from 7.5% the previous month. Over 111,000 jobs were also created during the period, with all states and territories except Victoria seeing a surge in employment, Bloomberg noted. The numbers are a stark difference to analyst estimates of a 7.7% increase in unemployment and 35,000 drop in jobs. 

The fall in unemployment rate is a welcome surprise as it comes at the heels of a lockdown in Melbourne, growing coronavirus cases in Victoria and growing worries of COVID-19 risks in New South Wales. 

“The upshot is that the unemployment rate is now unlikely to climb to 8.5% over the coming months as we had anticipated, let alone the 10% predicted by the RBA and the Treasury,” Marcel Thieliant, senior economist at Capital Economics, told Bloomberg.

According to the data, self-employed workers have boosted employment. Part-times jobs, including those in delivery services, have also shot up -- twice faster than full-time jobs. 

“Indeed, with restrictions in Victoria set to be loosened toward year-end, employment should continue to rise.”

Despite this good news, Victorians are still feeling the negative effects of the pandemic, with jobs still hard to come by. 

"Our household income has been taken down to a third of what we'd usually earn," Kirby Neil, who was forced to shut down her business, told ABC

"A lot of people are applying for jobs at the moment, my mum as well is applying for a new job, so it's really hard," a Brisbane local also told the news site. 

AMP Senior Economist Diana Mousina believes there is “still a long way to go” before the labor market returns to its pre-pandemic state. 

Nonetheless, the news is expected to help bolster the ailing economy as the world continues to suffer from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

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